Tito Sotto threatens to stop funding for Ph government ad placements in CNN over pagpag feature

Philippine Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III of Tito Vic and Sotto comedy fame in the yesteryears of Philippine cinema is apparently unhappy with with what he perceives to be a negative return on investment on the Philippine government’s ad placements in international news organisation Cable News Network (CNN). Sotto is reportedly convinced that CNN has an “agenda” to somehow link the astounding poverty in the Philippines to the case for the implementation of a long-overdue and over-debated Reproductive Health bill in the Philippines (which he opposes). Sotto is calling for a stop to any further pouring in of Philippine government “resources” into CNN after what he describe as a “stab in the back” the network inflicted on the Philippines.

The object of contention is a series of news videos aired by CNN featuring the Filipino native dish pagpag which counts as its main ingredients food scraps obtained from garbage cans.

Sotto said it cannot be helped but to feel that the country has been “stabbed in the back,” considering that the government poured in its resources on the cable news channel to uplift its image, only to be slapped in return by damaging stories on poverty in the country.

“We had to place ads in CNN and then that negative feature comes out? Why didnt CNN feature the fishermen who use their catch to feed their families? Why use the leftover food that is being highlighted? There was a bad intention. The ads should be pulled out of CNN.”

It seems Sotto fails to distinguish the nature of content in ads that are paid for by clients of media businesses like CNN from the news reports these businesses publish or air. An ad is intended to persuade viewers to subscribe to a point of view that the party who paid for said ad intend to propagate. A news reports, on the other hand, is in principle intended to inform its consumers on the basis of its author’s direct observations or facts taken from reliable resources.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

Apparently Sotto believes that parties who pay money to place ads in CNN’s various media outlets are given license to influence the content of its news reports.

Sotto’s confusion over what is news and what are ads possibly reflect the way media organisations in the Philippines do business and the way many Filipino politicians have grown accustomed to such. Philippine mainstream media has long been criticised for its less-than-objective and sometimes unethical “news” reporting practices. Many Filipinos attribute the perceived bias in Philippine media to the political and family affiliations of some of the owners and major shareholders of some of the biggest media businesses in the country. Indeed, many of the Philippines most prominent opinion shapers are “journalists” who have earned renown for spreading some of the most appalling ideas in modern Philippine history.

Underpinning the susceptibility of Philippine media organisations to politically-motivated influence peddling is the depth of gratitude (utang na loob) these owe to certain politicians. Media behemoths ABS-CBN and the Inquirer.net, for example, both benefited enormously from the rise to power of Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s mother, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino. Shortly after the ascent to power of the late former President Corazon Aquino, ABS-CBN ownership reverted back to the Lopezes. ABS-CBN is also widely credited for creating the “People Power” and “Edsa Revolution” concepts, encapsulating the entire drama that saw the fall of former dictator Ferdinand Marocs and the “return” of “democracy” to the Philippines under those two catch phrases, and engineering the ingraining of these notions deep into the Filipino collective psyche through its omnipresent media channels. And in the lead up to the 1986 “people power” “revolution”, the then fledgling Philippine Daily Inquirer was lucky enough to have bet on the right horse. It was a big bet made while supposedly espousing reporting objectivity as evident in its chosen slogan “Balanced News, Fearless Views”.

Perhaps then Senator Tito Sotto could be forgiven for thinking that CNN could also be bulldozed into airing news favourable to the Philippine Government. Already, another international news organisation Businessweek had already started fielding what seem to be hastily-researched “news reports” highlighting a positive outlook for the Philippine economy while implying that these are direct outcomes of the governance prowess of current Philippine President Noynoy Aquino — which is why Sotto is hopping mad. For the amount of money possibly being spent on ad placements with CNN, it is perhaps fair for a Philippine Senator to expect results.

21 Replies to “Tito Sotto threatens to stop funding for Ph government ad placements in CNN over pagpag feature”

  1. bakit puro tourism ang inaasikaso nila bakit hindi ayusin ang kalinisan at kapayapaan ng pinas papaano makaka-atrak ng touris ang pinas kung puro rally ang nakikita ng tao sa news ,mga beach na puro nagkalat na dumi ng tao ,mga tao na umiihi sa pader ,mga bombang sumasabog kaliwa at kanan ang patayan at mga drug na kasagwat ang mga politiko at mga pulis sa pagbebenta ng drug sa karsada .tigilan na muna ang funding ng tourism nayan gastos lang at gamitin nalang sa mga taong nangangailangan ng tulong .

  2. I just remember in the scene of the movie: ” A Few Good Men”, whereby Tom Cruise shouted to his adversary in the Military Court: “You cannot stand the Truth…” Sotto was a former Comedian. While, I don’t have anything for Comedians, becoming Politicians. It amuses me; when they bring their Comedies…in the serious business of debating with some small sense, the issues of the day. Some Filipino people, are too poor to buy the safe foods. And ,are now surviving on Recycled Food Garbage Foods not fit for human consumption, discarded and coming from the Garbage. This is the truth. We don’t want to hide it, like Noynoy Aquino building Walls, to hide the Squatter shanties of poor Filipinos….

  3. Did Sotto just reveal that the government is paying media agencies to make them look good? As a taxpayer, I’m disappointed. Shouldn’t be taxpayer money instead be spent on making more bike lanes in the Metro, on abolishing the boundary system for public transport which makes commuting in the Philippines a horrifying experience, or on amending or totally changing the highly flawed 1987 Constitution? Sotto and the rest really have their priorities wrong.

    1. “Shouldn’t be taxpayer money instead be spent on abolishing the boundary system for public transport which makes commuting in the Philippines a horrifying experience, or on amending or totally changing the highly flawed 1987 Constitution?”

      Hi Chino. Speaking of which, wasn’t there a resolution passed authorizing bus companies to pay drivers with fixed salaries starting around the 3rd quarter? I’m really looking forward to this (and so should the rest of us), but the issue has died down as of late. Let’s keep our fingers crossed on this one, but not too tightly ;)…Charter change seemed lost long ago when Pnoy was asked about amending the ’87 constitution sometime ago. He retorted with his usual “it’s not a priority at this time”. It sucks to be him, doesn’t it?

      On the topic, I always thought of Mr. Sotto as the least funny one of his ol’ trio. As a senator, he’s never been funnier.

      1. I agree with what you said! All part of the scenery in this country, I guess. Can’t get any more uncanny.

  4. I think Sotto just stuck his foot in his mouth! If he thinks he can take on the US news media he is sadly mistaken! He is only indignant because it makes Him and his cohorts look bad! If they really wanted to assist the downtrodden in this country they would have done it a long time ago! Maybe CNN should show the world the lifestyles of the Congressmen and Senators in a side by side with the downtrodden !! Just a thought

  5. The guy’s just mad Anna Coren mentioned that 70% of the people support the RH Bill, a survey which he does not believe.

    Whether the figure is true or not, I’m just happy this guy’s pissed and started talking about it. He’s proving he’s the biggest bigot of the country for 2012.

    1. After all these years he is still making me laugh. Sad part of it this time it has real world consequences.

  6. “Apparently Sotto believes that parties who pay money to place ads in CNN’s various media outlets are given license to influence the content of its news reports.”

    I will not make any argument about that above remark because in any media advertisement, I could presume that it is the norm.

    But then CNN has been known to be guided by political agenda in purveying information.

    Can anybody here categorically say that CNN has no hidden agenda in reporting the pagpag item while we have our advertisement placed in their programs?

    Take note that CNN has been known to be pro-leftist and pro-abortion.

    Sotto could be right.

    BTW, CNN rating is tanking.

    “It’s no April Fool’s joke — last month CNN delivered its lowest-rated month in total day in over a decade, since August 2001, the month before the September 11 attacks. The once-dominant cable news network posted decade-lows among both total viewers (357,000) and Adults 25-54 (108,000). Versus April last year, CNN was down 21% in total viewers and 29% in 25-54. In comparison, leader Fox News Channel was up 2% in total viewers (1.1 million) and 1% in 25-54 (273,000) and No.2 MSNBC was flat in total viewers (425,000) and down 5% in 25-54 (139,000).”

    Consider these if you want to go CNN:

    “Considering how they so thoroughly vet stories before airing them, conduct hard-hitting interviews with important newsmakers, and employ commentators completely disconnected from the people they’re covering in order to render unlikely any self-serving bias, it’s hard to understand why this ratings debacle would be happening”

    Read more of them in http://michellemalkin.com/2012/05/02/cnn-ratings/

    1. CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera is just the same as ABS-CBN or GMA. But I think Al Jazeera is the worst, it is not just politically motivated, but also religiously.

    2. I think CNN began its downhill trend since Time Warner bought it from Ted Turner… Perhaps Turner may have been more sincere in the media business than Time Warner had ever been… Turner was said to have made CNN bring real news while Time Warner decided to take the route a la ABS-CBN or a la Murdoch’s FOX…

  7. The problem with the paid ad is not about influencing the contents of what can be shown, rather the timing.

    It shows a conflicting extremities: Government has money to spend on such ad while people are suffering.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.